Daily News

The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) will grant Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne funding worth $5 million for three cost-sharing projects set to improve efficiency and reduce costs of gas turbines in commercial-scale power plants.

Coal generation will regain ground from gas in the US power sector in the coming year leaving less coal available for export to Europe and Asia, investment bank Barclays Capital forecast.

Flexible rather than conventional gas generation could save Britain between £380 million to £550 million by 2020 and up to £1.54 billion by 2030 alone through reduced balancing costs incurred by National Grid, research commissioned by Wärtsilä through Redpoint Energy and Imperial College London shows. The modelling is based on replacing 4.8GW of conventional CCGTs with 4.8GW of gas-fired Smart Power Generation.

The launch of capacity markets may come too late, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has acknowledged, and decreasing generation margins are threatening Europe's energy trading market. "Decc may well find that once they intervene, find they have to intervene again which causes the risk that we will go back to a regulated energy market," says Jim Fitzgerald, associate partner at The Advisory House.

E.ON, Germany's largest utility by market value, will take legal action before December 20 against Germany's energy regulator BNA over compensation levels for power plant re-dispatch, it confirmed today.

A 'dash for gas' scenario, unveiled by UK Chancellor George Osborne as part of the Gas Generation Strategy, may threaten the country's climate targets, critics warn. As one of three proposed scenarios, the 'dash for gas' case calls for 37 GW of new gas-fired power plant capacity, or up to 40 plants, by 2030 and implies a rewrite of a draft law that sets out Britain's carbon emissions reduction goals by the mid-2020s.

Prospects of a carbon floor price, introduced as part of the UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR), could render coal uneconomic compared with gas generation which may led to plant closures, says David Brewer, director general of the confederation of UK Coal Producers (CoalPro).

Profitability of new-build gas fired power plants in Germany hinges on selling district heating; hence dispatch of two projected combined heat and power (CHP) plants in Cologne and Düsseldorf will be driven by heat rather than power production, operators confirm.

Coal-to-gas substitution in the US power generation sector is set to decline amid a rise in natural gas prices beyond 2012 levels. Prices for gas delivered to power plant operators during 2013 will average about 22 percent higher than during 2012, while the average cost of delivered coal will go up only 1 percent, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts.

The resemblance between Montana, a state in north-western United States and European countries like Spain, Denmark or Germany is striking. 
"What we are seeing in Montana and also here in Europe is that our FT8 SWIFTPAC aeroderivative gas turbines are being used to maintain adequate power flows in the grid to counterbalance fluctuating wind energy," says Swift Tarbell, Pratt & Whitney Power Systems Area Director for Europe.

E.ON has bought Verbund's stake in the Turkish utility Enerjisa in a move to gain access to power generation capacity and electricity distribution in the fast-growing Turkish energy market. The transaction will provide E.ON with an platform for growth beyond its existing European markets,  E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen said today.

Up to 40 gas-fired power plants will have to be build across the UK by 2030, raising the need for new gas generation capacity to 37 GW - up from current estimates of 20 GW, according to the Gas Generation Strategy. 

Joint venture partners E.ON and Brazil's MPX are fast-tracking a gas generation project at Maranhão under a joint venture set to realise a project pipeline of 10,000 MW of new power generation capacity in Brazil and Chile. "We believe the natural gas projects at Maranhão, as well as wind farms at Rio Grande do Norte, have a big potential for development in the coming years," MPX representative Carla Assemany told Gas to Power Journal.

German regional utility RheinEnergie has taken the final investment decision (FID) to spend around 350 million euros on building a 450 MW combined-cycle, gas-fired power plant in Cologne Niehl.

Entergy Corp, a US-based integrated energy company, has increased its overall power generation capacity by 1,070 MW through the purchase of two gas-fired plants in Mississippi and Arkansas.

News in Brief

Controversy about planned CCGT in California

Feb 22 – Environmentalist have filed a lawsuit against plans to build a 634 MW combined-cycle gas power plant in Palmdale, a city north of Los Angeles. The hybrid gas and solar plant had been approved by the California Energy Commission (CEC), although a developer has not been found yet.

GE installs and services 9E turbine in Iraq

Feb 21 – GE Power has delivered and installed a 9E gas turbine to Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity’s (MoE) Al Qudus power plant. Throughout 2019, GE will also service up to seven GE 9E gas turbines at the facility, helping to maintain a stable power output of up to 875 MW.

MHI to join Cybersecurity Charter

Feb 20 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) signed a letter of intent to join the Charter of Trust for cybersecurity by the end of September, expanding the charter’s reach into Asia. Initiated by Siemens, the charter calls for binding rules and standards on cybersecurity as digitalization advances. Other signatories include AES, Airbus, Allianz, Atos, Cisco, Daimler, Dell Technologies, Deutsche Telekom, Enel, IBM, NXP, SGS, Total and TÜV Süd.

Substation market grows at 9.4% rate

Feb 19 – The gas-insulated substation market, currently valued at $17.3 billion, is anticipated to grow at a rate of more than 9.4% in the years through to 2025. Analysts say rising demand for low maintenance and small power systems will boost the market, particularly for large infrastructure projects such as smart city where GIS substations are well-suited due to their high efficiency and compact size.

Amprion advances P2G project in Germany

Feb 18 – Amprion, together with Open Grid Europe (OGE), are striving to get a €150 million Power-to-Gas project in Germany into operation by 2023. The pilot plant includes a 100 MW electrolyser that converts renewable energy into hydrogen and methane for use in the district of Emsland, northern Germany.

MHPS leads on post F-class turbines

Feb 15 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power System (MHPS) secured most orders in 2018 for newest-generation turbines, while GE booked most order for turbines of all classes amongst its rivals. For so-called post F-class turbines, MHPS reportedly achieved 49% of orders, compared with 34% for GE and 16% for Siemens.

UK inflation down amid fall in energy prices

Feb 14 – Falling energy bills and fuel prices have pushed down UK inflation to a two-year low in January, according the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Inflation had peaked at a five-year high of 3.1% in November 2017, and is currently at just 1.8% – below the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target.

Lahmeyer is now Tractebel

Feb 13 –The German engineering and consulting company Lahmeyer International is now operating under the Tractebel, with the new company name; Tractebel Engineering GmbH. Tractebel reached a turnover of €662 million in 2018, and is part of the French energy group ENGIE.

BECCS pilot project starts at Drax

Feb 12 – The 4,000-MW Drax Power Station has started using bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology, capturing up to 1 ton of CO2 per day. The Drax demo plant in Selby, North Yorkshire, moves Britain further ahead in the race to develop BECCS technologies

Demand for power ships up 3.6% through 2026

Feb 11 – The global market for floating LNG-fuelled power ships is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 3.6%, exceeding exceed $1,073 million by 2026, according to ResearchandMarkets estimates. Power ships with a capacity between 100 MW and 150 MW, and usually leased for short durations, will cover most of the demand growth which is centred in Asia Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

Australia’s H2U uses NovaLT turbine

Feb 8 – H2U, an Australian hydrogen infrastructure developer, will use Baker Hughes NovaLT gas turbine at is hydrogen and ammonia supply chain demonstrating plant in Port Lincoln. The greentech project integrates a 15 MW electrolyser plant, a 10 MW hydrogen-fired gas turbine and a 5 MW fuel cell, all of which set to supply electricity to the power grid in South Australia.

EC rules out Siemens/Alstom mobility merger

Feb 7 –The European Commission has decided to prohibit the proposed combination of the Siemens and Alstom mobility businesses. As a result of this prohibition, the merger will not proceed.

PG&E seeks to re-organize

Feb 6 – Having just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) now seeks to restructure and access up to $6 billion in financing to help it operate while under bankruptcy protection. In a filing to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the district of northern California, PG&E listed assets of $71.39 billion and liabilities of $51.69 billion.

Contigo enhances trading of DB Energy

Feb 5 – Contigo, together with the consulting firm Nevento, have introduced a new energy trading system at DB Energie of Deutsche Bahn. The system’s new functionality provides fast and easy access to business data and credit risk information, enabling effective decision making in energy trading.

ABB, Intel cooperate on digital substations

Feb 4 – ABB and Intel have agreed to jointly sell automation systems for utilities. At the core of the agreement is ABB Ability smart substation control for electrical systems, SSC600, powered by Intel Xeon processors.

Backup power for Hinkley Point C

Feb 1 – Rolls Royce will provide MTU diesel gensets to provide back-up power to the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset. The generators, Type MTU 396 TB33 with 3600 kW output each, will provide emergency power in case of an outage of the site’s standing power supply

Gauging UK’s shift to green energy

Jan 31 – Engineering consultancy WSP has been selected to model the impact of low carbon technologies on the UK’s electricity networks. It will also work with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) on the Distribution Losses Mechanism Study.